Why Govt Rejected Union Pay Claim of 15% for All, says A-G
Emphasis on modernising and rewarding those who perform well through performance based increases
The Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said civil service unions had initially wanted a 15 per cent pay increase for all their members across the board.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, while addressing close to 150 civil servants, mainly Ministry of Health staff in Lautoka, yesterday, said Government was totally against the increase sought by the unions. “The unionists came to negotiate wanting that 15 per cent pay increase.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. “We did not want to do that because it would have disadvantaged high flyers that were performing well,” he said.
“With the reforms and job evaluations that have taken place in the civil service, increases given by Government to as much as 70 per cent were unprecedented,” he said.
“Never in the history of the civil service have there been such increases.”
“I also issued a statement on what the unions are trying to do.” “We are trying to modernise and reward high flyers.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the unions were not happy with this as they were the ones who wanted to be seen to their members as being responsible for any pay increases.
“This is the first time the Government, as the employer, has gone out on their own to issue the pay rise.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they had waited on the unions on numerous occasions to talk about pay increases.
Meanwhile Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed that the new performance based increases would see an uplift in the quality of the civil service as everyone would want to attain more increases.
“Most of the issues brought before us are administrative problems and have nothing to do with the reforms.
“The people you have here (Lautoka Hospital) are probably not giving the right information to the ministry’s Human Resources people.
“If you know of particular people who should have been paid overtime but have not been paid, do let us know and we will follow up. “Some ministries are very good at paying overtime.
“This reform also gives us the feedback on how some ministries operate.
“Your respective minister does not know about your issues but your permanent secretaries should know as they get more pay than some of the ministers.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added he knew of certain people who were holding certain positions but had no qualifications.
“Some of these people have been in the ministry long and have come to these positions through vacancies created but do not really know what is going on in that ministry and really do not have a liking for what they are doing.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was upsetting for him and his team to travel around and hear that some people in senior positions were not doing their jobs. Meanwhile there was general satisfaction from the medical staff who attended although one said she still did not fully under the present pay structure under the bands formula.
Other issues raised included:
Shortage of staff in certain sections like laboratories and pharmacies where present staff had to work longer hours;
Registered nurses working on public holidays not being paid double time;
Extra responsibility allowances; and
Request for increase in housing allowances.
With the reforms and job evaluations that have taken place in the civil service, increases given by Government to as much as 70 per cent were unprecedented. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Service
Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the second round of nationwide road show for civil servants at Sugar Cane Growers Council Hall in Lautoka on September 26, 2017.